The National Loon Center is now broadcasting a 24/7 live loon cam that features a state-of-the-art camera system that will capture both above and underwater footage of a nest claimed by a pair of loons.

The nest and camera system were launched in the Brainerd lakes area and will be live through the entirety of the nesting season, a news release said. The Pelican Lakes Association, Pelican Lakes Conservation Club and Axis Communications provided funds and donated equipment for this to be accomplished, and the center is excited to share this footage with the rest of Minnesota and people across the nation.

The nest was launched Friday, April 17. Within 10 minutes of the nest being established the pair of loons were already checking it out. Within 24 hours the loon pair had mated in the nest and had warded off a flock of geese looking to invade the nest.

To continue to observe the activity of the loons through their nesting season, check out the free video feed that is now available during the entire nesting season online at www.nationallooncenter.org.

The National Loon Center was established in Crosslake to help protect loons for future generations by showing the world how to enhance lakeshore habitats and freshwater quality, increase loon populations, and reduce unnecessary loon mortality.

Now that the loons are back in Minnesota, they will begin the mating ritual and nest building. Loons require a large area of water, up to 20 acres or more, as their "territory" to successfully nest. A male loon will fight to the death to defend his territory from other male loons seeking to successfully mate.

Loons nest in back bays where there is safety from boaters and other water activity, and will nest near the shore line and occasionally use artificial nest platforms. Caution must be exhibited in trying to attract too many pairs to nest on platforms. If a nesting platform is placed in sight of another successful nest site, it is unlikely that the newer nest location will be productive.

Nests are built on land using dead marsh grasses and other plants or on floating bogs in shallow water near deeper water so they can swim to and from the nest without being seen by predators. Both the male and female take turns incubating the eggs and protecting the nest. They raise one or two chicks each year.

The dark, downy chicks can swim and dive right after hatching and have the endearing habit of riding on the back of a parent. Chicks are fed by both parents. As soon as they learn to fly, after about 12 weeks of life, they leave their birth territory during the fall migration to salt water wintering grounds. These young juvenile loons remain in salt water for a 3-4 year period before returning to within 15 miles of their natal lake to find a mate and begin the mating ritual.

When out boating, give loons at least 150 feet of distance; do not crowd them.

Follow the National Loon Center on Facebook and Instagram.